Invasive carp fighting for oxygen in Regina waters

Warmer weather in recent days has opened up some spots on the creek in A.E Wilson Park and Wascana Lake.

People walking by may notice large amounts of carp in the open water, the fish are simply looking for more oxygen.

Last spring, thousands of dead fish surfaced on Wascana Lake after suffocating under the ice due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

Peter Leavitt, a biology professor at the U of R, explained the carp are an invasive species with a negative impact on the water. He said them dying is more or less just mother nature’s way of setting things right.

“They are not natural within this region and they compete with other local species such as the endangered Bigmouth Buffalo,” mentions Leavitt. “The carp getting in is not good for the native species.”

A contributing factor to the carp dying is that lakes and creeks with more algae and bacteria use up more oxygen, thus suffocating the fish. For these carp, they are looking for any place that has rapidly moving water, salt, or any thing that would keep the ice off so they can fill up on oxygen.

Leavitt said right now it’s tough to say if we will see a similar event this spring like we did last.

“I’m not certain how many carp are left in the lake to die because most of the ones we’re seeing are in the creek,” he shared.

“It’s possible they will have the same issue, but the thing about creeks is that they have more oxygen in them.”

Leavitt believes the carp got into Regina’s water after being flushed down the toilet by owners who thought they were dead, or to big for their tank.


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